Robotic tutorial on workshop space and test gear
Ok, to have fun in robotics you need a workspace that you can comfortably work in, here are a few shots of my workspace, Although it looks crowded everything has it's place and is easy to access.
Most of my components are situated on the left in storage drawers like capacitors,resistors,transistors ect. LEDS and special ic's next to the PC screen on the right. and to the left in those two wooded box's are all my 74 and LM series Ic's.
Here you can see the main work area where building and testing is carried out, The shelf above the storage box in those plastic box's house a selection of special LEGO Technics parts, To the right on the wall house components in plastic bags for ease of use in front of my work area.
This storage area contains all my Parallax components, Sensors,leads,encoders,Stamps,ect. All handy to my workbench.
This is a close up of my storage area for Capacitors, resistors and voltage regs.
This is my prototyping area where circuits are designed before the final stage of completion. Area above on shelf are micro switches,relays and all manor of robotic mechanical devices.
I have 16 drawers where larger components are stored.
Next test gear that I use for robotics
The most important piece of test gear the Multi meter, This tool checks Voltage,Resistors,Transistors,capacitors and inductance, and can check loads in circuit.
Three pieces of test gear not essential but handy to have, Dual trace oscilliscope 20MHZ, [Bottom] 3MHZ Function generator, and a Frequency counter all useful for testing.
You can either buy or make a power supply, This one was built from Junk parts, +5v, -5v,+12v ,-12v, +15v, -15v, +24v and a variable voltage from 0-50v at 5amps.
This very handy nicad/NmH computer controlled battery charger is great for my robotic batteries, it will charge two packs at the same time and can charge 12 batteries at 4,000ma. Just punch in the amount of cells and ma rating and it does the rest.
Next is my logic probe, essential for testing Cmos and TTL IC's in circuit, Gives either pulse or logic 0 -1 from the IC under test.
Again another very useful piece of test gear is this Logic pulser, You can inject a signal into a chip or circuit under test in a circuit.
A voltage checker, 6v, 12v and 24v. Useful for checking voltages from batteries and motors.
No robotic project can be started with a soldering iron, 20-25w for electronics and 40-60w for heavier duty electronics like heat sinks and heavier relays. i have not purchased a soldering station yet [ Must get ].
Solder sucker for removing solder from underneath your circuit board when removing components.
An IC tester, clip this onto an IC then you can easily clip your test gear to the pins at the bottom
This is another of my must have pieces of test gear, a Logic Analyzer, Clip this onto an IC in circuit and it will display either logic 0 or 1 on the red LEDS, It will cater for 8-20 pin IC's.
Another must have are these IC inserters and extractors, saves damaging IC's and helps with static problems.
Wire cutters and wire strippers, very handy when you have a lot of terminating to do.
A set of these are helpful in any robotics lab, I have many , this is just a few.
A few more tools that I use.
These jumper leads are used in my Parallax demo boards for testing and for permanent connections from stamp to demo board. THESE WERE BOUGHT READY MADE AND ARE VERY NEAT AND TIDY, But of course you can make them quite easy to save $'s, Although these were not that expensive.
No Robotics lab would be complete without a set of imperial and metric allen keys.
Various PC plugs [not robot related] and wire ties, essential for tidying up those wires.
I hope this has been useful info for anyone starting out in Robotics, you certainly do NOT need all of the items I have displayed here to get started in Robotics, but if you are serious about robotics and want to get further into this Fascinating hobby you will require more tools for the job.
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